How can I then return in happy plightThat am debarred the benefit of rest?When day’s oppression is not eased by night,But day by night and night by day oppressed?And each, though enemies to either’s reign,Do in consent shake hands to torture me,The one by toil, the other to complainHow far I toil, still farther off from thee.I tell the day to please him thou art bright,And dost him grace when clouds do blot the heaven.So flatter I the swart-complexioned night,When sparkling stars twire not, thou gild’st the even.But day doth daily draw my sorrows longer,And night doth nightly make grief’s length seem stronger.
Shakespeare Sonnet 28 Analysis
The poet says how he can return to his own peace of mind “return in happy plight,” When his mind is never at rest “debarred the benefit of rest?” because the turmoil he faces during day “day’s oppression” isn’t relieved by rest at night “not eas’d by night”. His sleepless nights tire him during day “day by night” and his troublesome days do not allow him to rest at night “night by day oppressed,”
And though day and night are enemies, they have got together to torture him “shake hands to torture me,”. The day with physical work “one by toil” and the night by his worrying “other to complain” and regardless how much he tries, “How far I toil” his love seems farther than ever “farther off from thee.”
He tries to praise the day “tell the day that you are bright” so that even if cloudy, the sun can shine “bright even when it is cloudy” and the night he praises “flatter I the swart-complexion’s night” saying it is bright even when stars don’t shine “sparkling stars twire not”
But the day increases his sorrows “daily draw my sorrows longer” and the night makes his grief is endless “make grief’s length seem stronger.”